Since he's so concerned about President Obama's "radical associations," we’d like to hear Hannity’s explanation for sitting on the advisory board of a charity run by Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson. We’ve got a video showing African American Peterson thanking God and the white man for slavery and comparing slave ships to riding coach in an airplane: “It’s a tough ride. But you’re happy when you get to your destination.” UPDATED.
Sean Hannity has been obsessed with his widely-ridiculed “exposé” that shows President Obama introducing and then hugging “radical” (read: racist) Harvard professor Derrick Bell at a Harvard demonstration in 1990. According to Hannity, this is proof that Obama is a racist radical, too.
So what does Hannity say about the comments of his pal, Peterson, seen in a video below (uploaded to YouTube in 2008) thanking God and the white man for slavery? Specifically, Peterson says:
“I’ve often said that, ‘Thank God for slavery,’ because, you know, had not, then the blacks over here would have been stuck in Africa… Everybody and their Mama are trying to get out of Africa and come to America and so God has a way of looking out for folks and He made it possible by way of slavery to get black folks into this country.
…I thank God that He saw fit for me to get here. Never mind that, you know, (my ancestors) were sold… by Arabs and blacks to white folks… The ride over was pretty tough but you know, it’s like riding on a crowded airplane when you’re not in First Class. It’s a tough ride. But you’re happy when you get to your desitination… I thank God that he got me here and to show my appreciation to the blacks who suffered as the result of coming here, and Arabs and blacks who sold us to the white man, the white man for going there and getting us and bringing us here, I want to say, ‘Thanks.’”
Unlike Obama, Hannity hasn’t just made a few casual remarks of support for Peterson or given him a passing hug. Hannity repeatedly hosts Peterson on the Hannity show and sits on the advisory board of Peterson’s charity. Think Hannity doesn’t know Peterson’s thoughts on race? Here are just some of the things he has said in Hannity’s presence:
“Most blacks, not all but most in Tennessee, especially in the Memphis, Tennessee area, are still living in the 50’s and 60’s. They are so racist that they don’t even realize that white Americans have moved on. And so whenever there’s a (political) campaign like this, such as this, they always use racism in order to intimidate white America.” (8/6/08 Hannity & Colmes)
“I think we all agree that Barack Obama was elected by, mostly by black racists and white guilty people. Most black Americans, 96 percent of them, are racists who (unintelligible) white Americans. And white folks feel guilty and they are afraid of being called racists.” (2/3/09 Hannity)
“(Obama) wants us to take care of people who really will not get up and take care of themselves… You know what? I have changed the White House from being the White House to Big Mama’s House.” (3/19/10 Hannity)
“…(W)hite Americans are afraid. They are afraid of being called a racist. And anytime you are afraid, your enemy will overtake you… And I’m giving white folks permission to start speaking up.” (1/22/08 Hannnity & Colmes)
Coinicidentally, Peterson’s comments about slavery echo remarks reportedly made by white supremacist Hal Turner (currently in prison for threatening three federal judges) to Hannity, during his radio show. In 2005, Max Blumenthal wrote in TheNation.com, “During an August 1998 episode of the show, Turner reminded Hannity that were it not for the graciousness of the white man, “black people would still be swinging on trees in Africa,” according to Daryle Jenkins, co-founder of the New Jersey-based antiracism group One People’s Project. Instead of rebuking Turner or cutting him off, Hannity continued to welcome his calls.”
In another 2005 article for The Nation, Blumenthal noted that Peterson is supported by right-wing figures not despite such comments but because of them: “While Peterson's strident style may be unique, with his extremist politics he is merely playing the role of front man for a murky, well-funded network of white nationalist activists and right-wing Beltway operatives.”
The video below was posted in May, 2008, and begins with Hannity railing against then-candidate Barack Obama over his associations.
UPDATE: My email to Hannity asking for an explanation was returned, "Mailbox unavailable or access denied." Apparently, Hannity has blocked me, apparently over my last email to him, in August, 2011, saying that if Obama is a radical over his casual relationship with Bill Ayers, then Hannity really needs to explain the significance of his relationship with Hal Turner.